On April 2, 2005, a few months after my Mom passed away, my siblings and I organized a gathering to celebrate them and their lives together. We invited friends from the Marin Amblers, the RV group they had joined, friends from the Marin Power Squadron, friends from the Condo Complex where they had lived for 38 years and Mom’s relatives living in California. My brother Greg had a friend who put together a slideshow of about 130 pictures, spanning Mom and Dad’s childhood, young adulthood, the war years when they met and married, their lives in Trumbull and their active lives in California.
I purchased a wire-bound journal and created the first page. All those present were invited to write down their memories of Lad and Marian. These are a few of the quotes from the 71 pages of memories and tributes.
From Mom’s sister, Peg:
…. Al was always interested in finding something that needed fixing — a big help to me and enjoyable to him.
From their grandson, Tim:
Since I can’t pick just one memory to share (there are so many) I wanted to share a handful of things that will always be with me:
Grandma – going to the park, her keychain money cup, teaching me to swim and her piano.
Grandpa – his lamp timers, reading the newspaper and driving the camper.
I learned many important lessons from Grandma and Grandpa: sense of family, adventure … I get great comfort knowing that they live in all of us forever.
From their granddaughter, Amy:
Grandpa, I miss your tinkering on the back patio and I miss your hugs.
Grandma, I miss your beautiful smile and your contagious laughter.
From their son-in-law, Ted:
I never heard them speak to each other with anything but respect and adoration. I also realized that I never heard them speak about anyone in a negative tone. They never complained about anything.
From their niece, Sandi:
I would do something and my mom and dad would look at me and say “She’s a lot like Sis.” (Marian was known as Sis to her family)
From their son, Greg
Remembering how they lived their lives and maintained their relationships with our family and each other has better prepared me to go on with life and to focus on what’s important in my life.
From their granddaughter, Susan:
When I was 2 years old, our family came out to visit from Connecticut. My twin sister Colleen and I were to take a nap …. Somehow we got a hold of some crayons. Well one thing led to another and well …. the whole room as high as we could reach was decorated with swirls, lines, and pictures. My mother was of course upset but my grandma, on the other hand thought …. ART.
From there granddaughter, Collene:
Grandma – a strong, courageous, understanding, adventurous woman. She approached life head on living each day as she wanted – even if her body sometimes struggled.
Grandpa – a patient, hard-working, gentle man who loved to tinker. He could just about fix anything.
From daughter-in-law, Euna:
This is my first memory of them, and one that is very dear to me. It was the holidays and Greg asked me to go to his parent’s house. I was very nervous, but as soon as we walked in the door, it was like we were already a part of the family. They accepted my daughter as one of their grandchildren and made no difference between the kids, and that meant a lot to me.
From their son, Doug:
From Mom – a concern for others, a great outlook on life and how important family is.
From Dad – mechanical and building skills, patience and being a precisionist.
From their daughter, Lynn:
(Mom and I) have the same love of the piano. We both enjoyed “playing by ear” because neither of us had any formal lessons. We played just for our own enjoyment. Your genuine respect for all others was always shining brightly and should be a model for everybody today.
From granddaughter, Alisha:
My fondest memory of Nana is of her racing my boys around the courtyard on her walker. The shrilling laughter of 3-year-old boys as they screamed, “Go faster, go faster Nana” and she did.
From granddaughter, Caryn:
When I was 10 you took care of us …. My mom was in a car accident and we stayed with you for a month and a half. Every day was an adventure. You showed us the sites of California like Lombard Street, the Pyramid building, Pier 39, Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais, Golden Gate Park the luminarias and the Rainbow Tunnel.
From members of the Marin Power Squadron:
We have many wonderful memories of them both. We will greatly miss them with their winning smiles.
We were members of the Santa Rosa Power Squadron but when we went to Marin Power squadron events, Marian was always at the door checking us in with her beautiful smile and happy attitude. What a different world it would be if more people had such an “up” attitude as Marian.
Words cannot express the gratitude we members of the Marin Power Squadron have for the work you (Al and Marian) contributed to the betterment of our organization.
From members of the Marin Amblers RV Group:
Marian and Al’s handsome family through all the generations are their “legacy”.
Marian was a whiz with paper, scissors and a staple gun. She did a fantastic job of making a great outfit for Al at a Halloween Outing …. She made a Dalmatian dog costume for Al …. He won the prize.
My fond memory of Marion is at her last birthday party. She had the nicest smile on her face when we sing happy birthday. She looked so cute in the Mexican hat.
Al and Marian were the first people we met when we joined the Marin Amblers. They introduced us to all the members and soon we were on the road enjoying many outings with this great group – Al always had a big smile for everyone and he was devoted to Marian – she was his favorite lady…
Alfred Peabody Guion – the day he was Christened
Marian Irwin and her Great-Grandmother
Lad in Venezuela
Marian Dunlap Irwin – SFSU – 1937
Lad and Marian on their Wedding Day
Marian, Doug, Lad, Greg and Judy, 1947
Christmas card, 1952
Lad and Marian in California
Marian (Irwin) Guion and Alfred (Lad) Guion
Susan, Caryn, Judy (me) and Collene
Greg, Ted, AAron, Alisha, Amy, Greg, Euna and Tim
Doug, his wife Carol, Lynn
I realize this is probably one of my longest posts but it was difficult to edit the memories and stories that family and friends shared with us in the Memory Book. I hope you have enjoyed getting to know my parents, Lad (or Al) and Marian, “up close and personal”.
Next Sunday I will begin tracing Marian’s ancestors.